Phoenix to Salt Lake and back in October - route advice

Discussion in 'Americas' started by ript, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. ript

    ript redneckjedi

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    Hey there inmates, I'm planning a small road trip from Phoenix to Salt Lake sometime in October. No plans other than meet up with some friends in Salt Lake and see some scenery along the way. Objective is to not see the same road twice (within reason) on this trip. I'll be camping off the bike, which brings me to the reason for my post: advice on campsites (I dont dig crowds - that's what i'm trying to avoid!) along the way along with some route suggestions in Utah. I've never been through Utah and am looking forward to a bit of hiking and plenty of photo op's. Time is not really an issue, again, within reason. I'll be on my GS, so dirt and gravel aren't a problem, but I'd like to stay away from single track. this trip. :evil

    Part of this trip is to scout for a 2 up trip later with my wife. the other part.. is just to RIDE!!!

    Thanks for any suggestions! I hope to have my GPS for this ride and can do a proper ride report when I return as well.
    #1
  2. kobukan

    kobukan almost gnarly

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    Have you considered following the Great Western Trail up to Salt Lake then coming back through Moab and down 191.
    #2
  3. ript

    ript redneckjedi

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    Here's what I've been toying with.

    <iframe style="height: 270px; width: 450px;" src="http://www.mapquest.com/embed?hk=UDoyxv" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>
    #3
  4. kobukan

    kobukan almost gnarly

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    That's pretty close to what I was talking about.

    Visit every national park you can in Utah, it's a spectacular place. I've traveled around the country a few times and southern Utah is about as good as it gets imo. Even my wife and daughters love Moab more than any other place they've been. Canyonlands and Arches National Parks near Moab are worth spending some time at and you could do some hiking there along with exploring plenty of great dirt roads on your GS. Plenty of camping there and you're not likely to run into crowds - although it's a popular place, it's a long way for most folks and not much else around.
    #4
  5. 1200gsceej

    1200gsceej Long timer

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    +1 on southern Utah parks.
    From St. George in the west heading east: UT 9 through Zion, US89 N. to Panguitch; UT 12 through Bryce and Canyonlands and Escalnte and Capitol Reef ... to Boulder; UT 24 to Hanksville where the famous Burr Trial goes southeast to Bullfrog and Lake Powell.
    Absolutely beautiful country and roads and riding.
    -ceej

    #5
  6. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    A couple of alternates.

    Head to Globe and north thru Fort Apache. Canyon de Chelly. I really liked the area around the Salt River Canyon,

    Monument Valley is my favorite park in UT. Arches next. Nice riding around those areas.

    Google Bears Ears in UT. A really cool campsite near the top (8000ft) of a dirt road. Maybe 3 miles off the pavement. A spit of rock/land that overlooks a juniper forest

    A large grassy area where 95 crosses the Colorado, at the south end of the bridge.

    I also camped on a couple of the Navajo stands.

    I-15 near SLC has terrible traffic. To the west there are empty parallel roads. Use 6/50, and back on 15 at Cedarville. The traffic isn't as bad to the south. Just a couple miles off the Interstate and the traffic decreases.
    #6
  7. tandttravis

    tandttravis n00b

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    Look into the Burr trail / Notom road, outside of bullfrog. Also, skyline drive, 3 sections, through the center part of the state, watch the weather though, it's a very exposed ridge line. Utah is incredible!
    #7
  8. ript

    ript redneckjedi

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    thanks for the advice! I just got in and am gonna hit the sack and will investigate all of these suggestions tomorrow. thanks for the camping insight thetourist.
    #8
  9. Iggster

    Iggster Tornanti ├╝ber alles!

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    If you're near Monument Valley, take the loop through Valley of the Gods (just North of Mexican Hat), north on UT-261, up the Moki Dugway (a gravel section that climbs the edge of the Colorado Plateau) and continue north to UT-95. Hang a left, go 10 miles to Natural Bridges NM. Just before the fee station, there is a dirt road on the right. It used to be signed "Elk Ridge Rd" but it is known as "Bears Ears". There are primitive camp spots all over the place up there. However, in October you might be camping along with a lot of hunters.

    Keep going up Bears Ears and you'll end up in the Dark Canyon Wilderness. There are a bunch of dirt roads back in the Dark Canyon area. A lot of them dead-end but one goes all the way north to Newpaper Rock/Canyonlands/UT-211 (which hooks up with US-191 about 60 miles south of Moab).

    Also, UT-95 from NBNM to Hanksville through White Canyon is a fun, scenic stretch of road. Great curves, cool views of Lake Powell and the Henry Mountains are spectacular. There are some really nice dirt roads through the Henry Mtns, as well. There is also a wild buffalo herd up there, so be on the lookout! The best access is from UT-276 (heading towards Bullfrog Marina). You can also hook up with the Notom Road about 5 miles before Bullfrog, or from the Mt. Hillers loop.

    Another great, often overlooked stretch of road is UT-72 from Loa, UT north to I-70. Beautiful and deserted! I would suggest the Energy Loop, too, which is Huntington & Eccles/Scofield Canyons, but it's possible that they will be closed for the winter (but probably not til November or so). --- Continue North from UT-72 to UT-10 (designation changes at I-70...it's the same road) to Huntington, UT. Hang a left on UT-31 (Huntington Cyn). Right on UT-264 (Eccles Cyn). Left on UT-96 (Scofield). This takes you all the way out to US-6.

    If you want to avoid I-15, which is currently under construction through most of Utah County: Hang a right on US-6 to Helper, UT. Take US-191 north (Indian Canyon) to Duchesne (pronounced Doo-Shane...I don't want the locals makin fun of you!). Left on US-40, over Daniels Summit to Heber City and on to I-80. I-80 west through Parleys Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley.

    When you get here, buy me a beer for these awesome directions. :dutch

    Whatever way you go, have fun!
    #9
  10. KiloBravo

    KiloBravo Armchair Adventurer

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    Go now!!
    Rode from Durango through Moab to Salt Lake CIty, for first time incredible.
    The ride up to Mesa Verde was great also.

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    #10
  11. Wired

    Wired Been here awhile

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    The routes recommended look great. The colors are getting darker though, so you had better leave soon. If you're camping, pack your cold gear because nights will get cold and possibly freezing. I headed down your way in March and it was still reasonably chilly almost the whole way. It didn't warm up until we dropped down from Flagstaff into Phoenix.

    I would recommend staying out of the reservation at night and at the very end/beginning of the month. If you head up to SLC that way, you can be through there early on and not have a problem.

    If you want to take the long way from Moab to SLC, take HWY 128 towards Cisco. You would turn right at the light at the North end of town before crossing the bridge. This route follows the CO River and is very curvy with some nice hills. It's one of my wife's favorite rides. There is also some hiking/ camping opportunities along this route as well.
    #11
  12. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    I have a couple of options if you want dirt roads.

    1. Smokey Mountain Road: North of Page there is a town called Big Water. Smokey Mountain Road runs east from Big Water along the north shore of Powell. Then turns north over Smokey Mountain and ends in Escalante. 110 mile total dirt. Caution: You must stop in the ranger station to make sure the road is passable. I rode it solo in September and it would have been tough on a big bike. There were two water crossings and plenty of sand and rock gardens from washouts. If muddy it is impassable. You really need the road to be fixed to attempt on a heavy twin. It wasn't when I went and the rangers were not open so I took a chance. I shouldn't have, but it turned out OK after a hard five hours of riding a 250.

    2. House Rock Road: Turn northwest on 89A through Lees Ferry. Refuel at Cliff Dwellers Fish Camp. Continue to House Rock and turn north onto a dirt road. Spectacular colors. Maybe 35 miles later you'll climb up to Hwy 89. Turn east on it towards Page.

    3. Cottonwood Creek: Ride 7 miles west on Hwy 89 past the Ranger Station and find Cottonwood Creek. Turn north onto this dirt road that runs for about 40 miles to Cannon, UT. You'll be riding through the Kodachrome Valley, and you'll see how it got that name. At Cannon you will be on the great Hwy 12. Probably the finest ribbon of asphalt in Utah. I'll let you find your way north from there.

    4. Toroweap Point: On your way back you might want to try a unique campsite on the north rim. Find St George, UT. Ride south on dirts roads to Mt Trumbull and head east through the park. You will come to a signed T intersection that points the direction south to a ranger station. The camp is a few miles past the ranger station. It is a dry camp and primitive. From there ride back out past the ranger station, but continue straight past the Mt Trumbull intersection. You will come out on Hwy 389 just west of Fredonia. 60 miles from St George to Toroweap Point. Maybe 70 miles from Toroweap to Fredonia.

    You'll need good maps. I used 'Indian Country' from AAA for all these routes. They are free to members. Smokey Mountain is the riskiest and you really should have tracks. I made my own tracks on Garmin's Basecamp over CityNav maps and loaded it into my 60 Csx.

    The other routes are far easier, but still, mud will end your attempt.

    Luck

    Road South From St George
    <IMG class=imgBorderOn title="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" height=450 alt="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/34618616-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    Toroweap Point
    <IMG class=imgBorderOn title="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" height=450 alt="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/34637970-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    House Rock Rd
    <IMG class=imgBorderOn title="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" height=450 alt="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/34641057-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    Cottonwood Creek
    <IMG class=imgBorderOn title="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" height=450 alt="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/34646977-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    Kodachrome!
    <IMG class=imgBorderOn title="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" height=450 alt="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/34651756-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    Smokey Mountain Road
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    #12
  13. ript

    ript redneckjedi

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    you guys are awesome! Iggster, i'll hit ya up and we'll have a few :freaky, and I intend to try some of your suggestions! Pantah, awesome pictures, and i'll be incorporating some of your ideas as well. Wired, I'll look into the reverse of that from SLC to Moab. Cisco got my attention, i may have to visit there just because i'm a network engineer and want a shot of the sign (i'm a nerd). I love dirt!! Being on the heavy twin and solo, i'll definitely be careful about the routes and any obstacles I will attempt. Or i should just bag up the 650 and to hell with it! :lol3 Mud is most certainly NOT an option on the GS

    I'm going to spend some time revising my trip tomorrow (looks like i may hit the road early next week) and i'll update my plans here. I'm good with the cold camping, and i'll have plenty of warm gear. Most of my 'exploring' will be saved for Utah and i'm excited to check out all the suggested routes.

    Thanks again for all of the amazing suggestions, google and mapquest aren't jack compared to ADV!!! :D
    #13
  14. Snownut

    Snownut Adventurer

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    I'm not sure how much time you have, but Ive done a similar route to this a few times and Its one of my favorite.. Normally don't go farther than Flagstaff or Sedona however.. The Colorado portion is one of my favorites.. I will be in South Western Colorado this weekend as a matter of fact. I did basically this route a month ago as well..

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. Snownut

    Snownut Adventurer

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    I noticed you are "toying" with coming down 160 from 4-corners to Tuba City.. It's a very good road from the last time I was on it but there are some seriously bad drivers on that road, not sure if its reservation related or what but my wife was pretty freaked out by the time we got off it last month.. Almost a head on from a suv passing a pickup which ran us off the road, people passing in crazy areas, passing on blind corners, in intersections through small towns etc.. Another bike hooked up with us and we stayed together through about half of it but I have to admit I was happy to get off of it.. If you take it just stay alert and be careful..
    #15
  16. GREGRIDES

    GREGRIDES n00b

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    The other inmates have given you some great advice, I concur-avoid I-15 if possible. The Utah BDR offers some great non-paved alternatives, if you have time. Far southern UT offers a loop through Garden of the Gods, and it looks pretty straightforward. This route, created by Touratech last year, provide great off-road alternatives, and some camping options for you. You can google it, and download all the GPS coordinates, if you're interested. Have a great ride!
    #16
  17. ript

    ript redneckjedi

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    First the bad - this trip will be postponed until the Spring.

    Now the good - because i've landed a new job!

    In a way this is nice because it gives me a bit more time time plan the trip, and I hope her schedule is a bit more accommodating next year and is able to join me. Thank you all for the great advice and suggestions, I think i'll need to make this trip 4-5 times to get it all in! I'll resurrect this thread when the time comes, and in the meantime i've got all the maps still pinned to the wall for inspiration.
    #17
  18. WADE-O

    WADE-O Been here awhile

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    I was thinking of doing a very similar trip in kinda the same time frame from San Diego. When the gears start turning again let me know and maybe we can work something out :D
    #18
  19. egami

    egami n00b

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    Yo brotha.. I'll meet you in Moab. We'll spin some trails, camp out and then head back to the pad. There's a few roads up here by the Squaw that are fun to trail. :freaky
    #19